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Women's untold stories

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It's no surprise that "Unplanned" was given an R rating. Ironically, a child under 17 has no problem procuring an abortion, but cannot go to this film unless accompanied by an adult.

Jaymie Stuart
Wolfe

Don't get me wrong: I appreciate Women's History Month, especially this year, the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which guaranteed women the right to vote. I love to read stories of strong women breaking through barriers to education. I'm inspired by the women who chipped away at stereotypes and limitations, ignoring the naysayers who told them they were fools to think they could succeed in a man's world. Women in science, in politics, in art and music, in business, in education, in law; first graduates, first doctors, first congresswomen, these are women who rode their gifts as fast and far as they could carry them in every kind of human endeavor. I admit that I love the sound of glass ceilings as they shatter and the sight of shaking heads that have been proven wrong. And I love discovering that there are stories yet to be told, stories about women who made history just by being themselves.

What I don't love is getting ahead at all costs; the belief that the ends justify the means; that stepping on other people is just part of what it takes to succeed; that to gain the world you must, by necessity, forfeit your soul. That's the kind of feminism summed up by a popular bumper sticker: "Well-behaved women rarely make history." But that simply isn't true. It's just one more lie intended to destroy who women are with false promises about what we can have. What's the catch? We just have to set our deepest selves aside. We have to be willing to abandon the one thing that belongs essentially and exclusively to women: the miracle of bringing forth life.

Today, one woman's story has the potential to change this zero-sum game, and completely upend how women see the choices they make every day. Dramatized in the soon-to-be-released film, "Unplanned," Abby Johnson's jarring confrontation with the truth changed the course of her life. And what she saw with her own eyes has the power to change other lives as well.

Johnson had her own sad history of abortion when she graduated from college and accepted a position at Planned Parenthood. It didn't take long for her to work her way up the abortion industry ladder; telling other young women the lies she herself had been told, lies she couldn't afford to question. Eight years later -- after the birth of her own daughter -- Johnson was promoted and became the director of a busy Texas clinic. She believed that the services she offered were helpful to women. An unplanned pregnancy, after all, could crush all their dreams. Abortion is an answer when you're too afraid to ask the right question.

This movie is subversive to the social order. It's no surprise that "Unplanned" was given an R rating. Ironically, a child under 17 has no problem procuring an abortion, but cannot go to this film unless accompanied by an adult. I like to think of it as R for "real," because that is what viewers will see: the real impact of abortion, the real risks, the real losses, and the reality of how the abortion industry -- and that is what it is -- views women.

Plan to see "Unplanned." Plan to talk about it where you work, where you go to school, and where you live. Plan to be sensitive and charitable about the truth that is so powerfully portrayed. And if you are already pro-life, plan to resist all gloating, triumphalism, and any hint of I-told-you-so.

This is a special moment in women's history. This is a moment of truth. For many, the truth of the choice to abort a child will be painful at first. For all, it will be ultimately liberating. Abby Johnson's story can be as inspiring as Amelia Earhart's or Marie Curie's, as Ada Lovelace's or Hildegard of Bingen's, as Maria Montessori's or Sandra Day O'Connor's, as Mother Teresa's or Clara Barton's. The question is how many unborn women will be allowed to have a story to tell. Planned or unplanned, life is precious. There are many women's stories that have yet to be told. The truth about abortion is certainly one of them.

Jaymie Stuart Wolfe is a Catholic convert, wife, and mother of eight. Inspired by the spirituality of St. Francis de Sales, she is an author, speaker, and musician, and serves as a senior editor at Ave Maria Press. Find Jaymie on Facebook or follow her on Twitter @YouFeedThem.

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